Selling Reno And Sparks Real Estate Blog


Hosting an Open House This Weekend and I Need Your Help!

I am hosting an open house for the VACANT Condo I have listed.

It is a great Condo, great location, corner, ground unit, nice views, etc.. The owner kept it spotless and it shows great even though it has no furniture.

But I want to make it more appealing for visitors (yes, I am hoping to get a bit of traffic) and would welcome any suggestions.

I have not held an open house for some time and have not done one for a vacant home, ever. Honestly, I am just looking for some "tips an advice" (as usual) to help make this a success.

The following is a list of what I have already done to prepare for my open house:

1) Advertised in Sunday's RGJ, our local newspaper.

2) Sent out an email to my office and people on my contacts list encouraging them to stop by and bring   any interested buyers along and/or to pass the information to  anyone they think might be interested.

3) Made new flyer's to give out the day of the open house.

4) Notified the mortgage company I work with so I could have  flyer's made with current interest rates and loan information.

5) Got in touch with the Title company I use for an updated Property Profile Package to show interested parties. Plus, when I call them, they always bring some extra pens and pads of paper to give out.

6) Got a babysitter for the kids! Important one!

7) Borrowed several onen house signs.

 What I am planning the day of the open house:

1) Have plenty of ice cold water for guests (the temperature was 101 degrees today.)

2) Make cookies (Or buy Cookies)

3) I am not going the balloon route this time so I bought a string of plastic flags for the wrought iron fence that is located on the outside of the condo and around to common areas. Hopefully that will attract a few passer-byes.

4) Pack a chair to sit on and reading material...just in case.

And that is all I can think of. What concerns me is presentation. I would love to "WOW" the people when they walk into the cono. How can I do this with an vacant property?

Here are a couple of picturesnof the condo. The address is 2624 Sunny Slope. #16, Sparks, Nevada, if you know of anyone.


Have a great weekend and thanks for the help!


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Comment balloon 21 commentsTerrie Leighton • July 18 2008 10:45PM


Play music like smooth jazz, so bring a boombox, and if you don't bake cookies there, light a fragrant canldle, Get it on Craigs list tonight or tomorrow AM

Posted by Christine L, Broker (Property Cupid, LLC) over 11 years ago

Terrie~  You could email,fax info about the open house to ALL of the other offices and every agent in your area. (not just your office)

Posted by Vickie McCartney, Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY (Maverick Realty) over 11 years ago

Christine - I forgot about the music! And the candle. Thank you so much.

Vickie- I should have thought of that as well. Maybe I was being lazy in not thinking of it, I hope not .=)

Posted by Terrie Leighton, Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno (Ferrari-Lund Real Estate ) over 11 years ago

Terrie ~ You probably don't have time to hire a professional stager just to get a few items there to warm up the house.  Maybe you could bring a few items yourself -- place a larger, colorful print above the fireplace, a tree in that area, and a comfortable chair (not a folding one).  Soft jazz music is nice but I would not light a scented candle as many people are allergic and it may send them running out!  This condo needs life and COLOR! so whatever you bring make sure it is larger in size -- small items make no impact and get lost. I personally think the plastic flags outside will remind people of a used car lot so colorful balloons might be a better option.  Good luck!!

Posted by Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging, "Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes" (Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR) over 11 years ago

Have a free drawing for something like a consultation, or a room redesign etc., but they have to drop their business card in a box to get it.

Posted by Cindy Bryant, "Houston Home Staging Pros" (Redesign Etc. Home Staging) over 11 years ago
Terrie, I totally agree with Maureen's additions and I would also add a large bouquet of fresh colorful flowers. Place them next to your information. Like Maureen says COLOR is key! If you have nice towels that you can add to the baths, that's a plus and dusty silks please. Good luck and for the next time find a stager in your area that can help you out. A staged OPEN HOUSE CAN sell the house!
Posted by Ginger Foust, Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging (Certified Staging Professional) over 11 years ago

I know it's a bit late but you can have an "instant staging" supply for less than $100. When it is yard sale season I frequently hit them all up looking for fake flowers, baskets, pottery, or anything else that I can toss in the SUV and set up in a home really fast. I keep a small closet full of things of varying styles, colors and textures just for soft staging a home. It really helps to break up the space and add some color.

Posted by Darrel Davis, Southern Heritage Realty (Winter Garden, Florida) over 11 years ago

If you have any artwork in your home or on clearance at Homegoods, to bring in some color and warmth.

Have a drawing, gift certificate.

The main thing is to make sure it's advertised well and if possible put the open house information on MLS.


Posted by Joyce Zdenek (Hallmark Sotheby's International Realty & Joyce's Interiors ) over 11 years ago

Maureen- I have a perfect print to put above the fireplace that never would have thought of myself. Great idea. And I was just trying to think "Green" and not use the balloons so I think that tip over today. Thank you, you helped a lot.

Cindy- I will try the drawing thing, businesses in my area are always willing to help out. Thanks!

Ginger- I am going over there today and will add the towels. I almost forgot about the Flowers.

Darrel - I have never heard of "instant staging", I will have to look around and see what is available here in Sparks and Reno.

Joyce - Advertising is key, you are right. And I am going to try and add some color to the place.


Posted by Terrie Leighton, Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno (Ferrari-Lund Real Estate ) over 11 years ago

HI TERRIE!  It's probably too late now, but making flyers and putting them in the mailboxes /doors of the folks in the neighborhood prior to your open house is a good idea.

Hope it went well!

Posted by Yvette Smith, Realtor In Williamsburg VA, Homes for Sale (LONG & FOSTER) over 11 years ago

Hi Terrie! I know I am late but....

* When I do open houses at vacant properties I bake the cookies there. That way you are doing two things at once. Eliminating candles plus preparing something to snack on.

* How about having a nice gift basket created to put in the house for a drawing. If you are going to do several in the month how about using it for the whole month and then do the drawing. Maybe see if your mortgage broker will help out with this expense. Of course stating the drawing on you flyer's and letting people know it is for the whole month. I don't know about your market in NV but sometimes here we don't have anyone showing up for open houses depending on the weekend and what is going on around here.     

Hope you had GOOD LUCK with yours!

P.S. Could you share with me what you used to get your signature that way? Thank you!

Posted by Teresa Harris, Denver . Lake Norman . Charlotte (Lake Real Estate, LLC) over 11 years ago

Hi Yvette - You were not to late! Walking the neighborhood and giving out flyers is always a good idea. Thanks.

Teresa - I will do the baking at the open house, I hadn't decided on that until I read your advice. I will use the gift basket idea if I get a good flow of people on Sunday. If I do, and don't sell the condo, I will hold a couple more and do the drawing. Thank you, I like that idea.

My signature if from....I think it is call ? I can email the info if you like. Oh and thank you, I really like how my signature turned out!

Posted by Terrie Leighton, Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno (Ferrari-Lund Real Estate ) over 11 years ago

Hey Terrie,

I looked to see if I could find the but what I found was not signature's. Please email me what you have. Thank you!  

Posted by Teresa Harris, Denver . Lake Norman . Charlotte (Lake Real Estate, LLC) over 11 years ago

Terrie, best of luck on the open house, sell, sell, sell

Posted by * Rate A Home (Rate A Home) over 11 years ago

I cook - real smells can sell a property. Throw a pie in the oven (remember to bring oven mitts) or my favorite and inexpensive way to go - frozen bread dough.

Walk the neighborhood with flyer for the "Pick Your Own Neighbor" program

Put a sign out a couple of days in advance annoucing the time of the Open House

Send the notice by email to my client database

Posted by Shannon Aldrich, NH & Maine Real Estate Seacoast (Keller Williams Coastal Realty) over 11 years ago

Hi I am REALLY late lol.  Well for next time I ditto the walking the neighborhood (street) with flyers. For whatever reason, that seems to bring people into open houses when it's a slow time.

I was wondering if you could invite someone else who wants business.  The problem I had was what kind! Maybe someone from the neighborhood who offers a service? Or a caterer who can provide one snack and some coupons....or an insurance person?  Why I am suggesting this is because it is a vacant ppty and then a small table and a chair with someone useful at it might make it seem better.  As you can tell this idea is a work in progress lol

Posted by Carole Cohen, Realtor, ePRO (Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office) over 11 years ago

Hi there - great post and you already have a lot of great ideas, but here are a few more.

1. You could write a blog about about it, and send the link to everyone you know as an invitation.

2. Walk the immediate neighborhood around the open house and invite the neighbors and tell them to bring someone they know.

3. Post it on your website or blog sites.

4. Send an email to your the office agents to notify them in the event they have buyers for you.

Posted by Sharon Paxson, Newport Beach Real Estate (Compass) over 11 years ago

Terrie, did the Open House go??

Posted by Christine L, Broker (Property Cupid, LLC) over 11 years ago

Shannon - Great suggestions.....I like the idea of putting a sing out a couple of days earlier to announce the open house.

Carole- I like your work in progress idea. I'll have to think about a business to invite for the future.

Sharon- Great ideas. It is all about advertising isn't it? Blogging, emailing, walking the neighborhood etc. Always great to get feedback and reinforcement from fellow AR members, thanks,

Christine- Thanks for asking. I am going to update real soon but until then, .... I had two people stop by! But the place looked great thanks to every ones help! Will probably do one more this weekend to see if I get a bit more traffic. Thanks.



Posted by Terrie Leighton, Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno (Ferrari-Lund Real Estate ) over 11 years ago


This is way past late...BUT...reading your post caused me to think of something.

Whenever we do a flyer/brochure on a vacant property, where the lighting isn't great (remember, the sellers also took their lamps when they moved!!)...we'll usually add lighting effects just to give it a little more character.

The above is just a very quick example for effect.

My question is this.

I'm wondering whether there are any unobtrusive (and relatively inexpensive) lighting fixtures which can be placed strategically throughout the interior to give it a more lived-in look??? Possibly torchiere lamps...or something?? Ones that use incandescent bulbs versus fluorescent or LED. Or, to really brighten up certain rooms, maybe a halogen-styled lamp of some sort (but those generate a lot of heat too!)

Seems to me the first thing I notice whenever walking into a vacant property is the drab, dreary feeling caused by the lack of lighting. Even on bright days...there may not be enough natural lighting coming in to really brighten the rooms. Perhaps the stagers can suggest something along those lines??

By the way...I discovered something at Walmart the other day when picking up a new filter for my Air Conditioning system. They now sell these flat sheets (kind of the size of dryer sheets)...that you lay flat across the air filter itself. When the system is running....the air passes through the filter...and through the air freshener sheet....which fills each room with a delightful and NOT overbearing scent. Comes in handy when trying to avoid candles, not only for the safety issues and allergy concerns, but also that you'd need candles throughout the home where kids may be unattended while mom and dad preview the home!! They cost around $7.00 and come in many different scents.

I love mine.


Posted by David Daniels (Owner of FlyersToYou, Inc. and former Top Realtor) over 11 years ago

Dave - I think I would like to get those flat sheets for my own home. Thanks for the idea. As for the property, they would work great there as well. I did notice the filter needed to be changed when I was there and the would be a great suggestion to any seller, get those changed! And maybe as the sheets. I am having another Open House this weekend and will give the idea a try.

Luckily, when Condo is opened up, it looks/is really bright! But your lighting fixtures are a great idea. the power has been turned off...will have to discuss with the seller.

Thank you for your great ideas.


Posted by Terrie Leighton, Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno (Ferrari-Lund Real Estate ) over 11 years ago

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